Traders on the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, which is still undergoing rehabilitation risk jail terms as the Minister of Works, Mr David Umahi on Saturday, ordered the arrest of persons trading on the completed section of the Aba axis of the road.
Expressing his disappointment over the activities of the traders, the minister who was inspecting the project, ordered his security details to arrest the erring traders with a strong assurance that the offenders would be charged to court according to the extant laws of the land.
He said, “While Mr President is passing through sleepless nights on how to solve the problems of a very bad inherited economy, Nigerians should support him and also support themselves. We wouldn’t like a situation where after the Federal Government had spent so much here, we see people building and trading on the road.
“It appears the people here like to inflict injuries on themselves. They can’t even allow the contractor to work. They drive against traffic and use the completed road as car parks, trading, and dumping of refuse. The whole of refuse generated in Aba is being dumped on this road. It is not encouraging at all.
“The only way out for this work to be completed is for the governor to set up a task force and clear the road and I will advise the governor to set up a task force here. The citizens of this country will need to do their best, while leadership also does its own. That is the only way it will work.”
Fielding questions from newsmen, the minister, however, expressed his satisfaction with the job done by the contractor stating that the project, which was first awarded about 10 years ago, had yet to be completed because of the high cost of construction materials.
“When I came on board in August 2023, bitumen was N500,000 per ton, but today it’s about N1.3 million per ton and that is why we are asking, can we go for concrete that is almost 95 percent sourced locally?” he added
Earlier, the Federal Controller of Works in Abia, Tony Onwubiko, said that the project covered about 57km from Abia Tower in Umuahia to the Railway Crossing at Alaoji in Osisioma Local Government Area.
The minister also inspected the NNPC Mega Filling Station at Nkwoegwu in the Umuahia section of the Enugu-PH Expressway, near Abia Tower of Peace where he expressed his happiness with the work done by Setraco Nigeria Limited, and urged the company to correct some errors he detected.
Recall that the minister had revealed that President Bola Tinubu has approved funds for the construction of the Second Niger Bridge bypasses, the Lagos-Ibadan highway, and the Lafia bypass.
Umahi said during the inspection of the Lafia bypass road and dualisation of the 9th Mile, Enugu-Otukpo-Makurdi Road Project.